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2016 News Archive

Hop House in El Dorado Hills offers craft beer and excellent foods

As seen in the Folsom Lake Entertainer

By: Rachel Zirin, Reporter

Young artists show holiday spirit in creative ways

Village Life
December 19, 2016

Mark Dagenais, 5, first place.

Mark Dagenais, 5, first place.

Some of El Dorado County’s finest young artists participated in this year’s inaugural Village Life Christmas Coloring contest, impressing the judges and letting their creativity shine.

Winners were tough to choose as Village Life received dozens of entries in three age categories. After much deliberation the awards went as follows:

Ages 6 and younger

  1. Mark Dagenais
  2. Carson Greenfield
  3. Tyson Ellis

Ages 7-9

  1. Sophia Voudouris
  2. Sienna Dietrich
  3. Nicole Uribe

Ages 10-12

  1. Giavanna Chopra
  2. Ashley Chow
  3. Avery Ellis

The contest entries were judged by Village Life Editor Noel Stack, Natalie Buerki with El Dorado Hills Town Center and Laura Newell with the El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce. A reception for the winners was held at the California Welcome Center last week, where each winner was presented with a cash prize and a gift certificate from Cold Stone Creamery.

The winning works of art will be on display through the holidays at the El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce, 2085 Vine St. #105.

“We look forward to next year’s coloring contest and more great entries,” Stack said. “These children did outstanding work. I wish I could color as well as them.”

Carson Greenfield, 6, second place.

Nicole Uribe, 9, third place.


Giavanna Chopra, 11, first place.

Sophia Voudouris, 9, first place.

Ashley Chow, 10, second place.

Enter the annual Christmas Caroling Contest

Natalie Buerki
El Dorado Hills Town Center

Village Life
November 2,2016

The annual Christmas Tree Lighting will take place in El Dorado Hills Town Center on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 4 to 8 p.m. in partnership with the El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce.

Again this year, the event will feature a Christmas Caroling Contest as part of the entertainment, with winners to perform live onstage.

Groups of all ages are asked to submit entries via YouTube or personal video to between Nov. 1 and 16.  The song must be a recognizable holiday carol with a length of no more than five minutes. Groups should have between 1 and 12 performers. Winners will be announced on Nov. 18.

The Christmas Tree Lighting kicks off at 4 p.m. with a merchant open house where families will enjoy food, beverages and holiday entertainment. The first 175 kids to arrive will be invited to play the Stuff Your Stocking game where children visit participating businesses to fill their stockings with special gifts.

Enjoy live music from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. and experience the Caroling Contest winner’s performance from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Right after families eagerly await Santa’s arrival on his traditional EDH fire truck to light the tree with magic glitter around 6:30 p.m.  And of course, there will be cookies and hot chocolate. 

Ready to meet the man behind the ‘Wimpy Kid’?

Sacramento Bee
October 21, 2016
By Allen Pierleoni

Author-illustrator Jeff Kinney says he is recommitted to his creation, perpetual middle-schooler Greg Heffley.

Parents of ’tweens, grab a seat and take a breath. Award-winning author-illustrator Jeff Kinney is coming to town Nov. 19, and he’s bringing Greg Heffley with him.

Greg isn’t the most popular kid at his middle school, but millions of young-adult readers around the world number him among their best friends.

They’ve bonded with Greg over the years in books and movies as he and his friends have navigated the terrors of perpetual middle school in Kinney’s 11-title “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series.

The newest is “Double Down,” on sale Nov. 1 (Abrams, $14, 224 pages). The publisher offers this tease:

“The pressure mounts as Greg’s mom wants him to explore his ‘creative side’ and his dad wants him to be more invested in his extracurricular activities. Can Greg keep his parents at bay to avoid getting into double trouble?”

“After the tenth book, I found myself at a crossroads in my career,” Kinney, 45, said by email. “I wasn’t sure if I should continue writing the ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ books or go down a different path.

 ‘Double Down’ is really special to me, because it reflects a renewed commitment to the series and a plan for the future.”

Abrams and Face In a Book independent bookstore have partnered to bring Kinney to town for a 2 p.m. presentation at Rolling Hills Church, 800 White Rock Road in El Dorado Hills, on Nov. 19; doors will open at 1:15 p.m.

Buy tickets at Face In a Book, 4359 Town Center Blvd., El Dorado Hills (916-941-9401). An $18 ticket admits one adult and one child; a one-person ticket is $15. Tickets include a copy of “Double Down.”

If any tickets are still available on the day of the event, they will be sold at the door.

Steakhouse replacing French restaurant in El Dorado Hills

Oct 19, 2016, 2:56pm PDT
Sacramento Business Journal
By Sonya Sorich

A local restaurateur will open a second eatery in the El Dorado Hills Town Center, where two boutique fitness studios are also in the works.

Charles Knight, who opened Ruffhaus Hot Dog Co. in the center in 2010, said he’s planning a classic steakhouse with a “speakeasy feel.” The business, called C. Knight’s Steakhouse, is expected to open in mid-February. It will fill an approximately-2,200-square-foot space most recently occupied by Cafe C, whichclosed in September.

Knight will own the new restaurant with his wife, Michele. He envisions an atmosphere that’s classy and elegant, but also approachable. He plans to offer many different steaks, including grass-fed and USDA prime varieties. Steaks will be served on hot plates similar to those that characterize Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Seasonal specials will also be offered.

At least for time being, Knight expects the restaurant will be open for dinner service only, seven nights a week. A pianist will perform on some nights.

Knight has no qualms about filling a space below the center’s former Chili’s Grill & Bar, where multiple eateries have failed. “I know where all these other restaurants have failed, we’ll succeed,” he said. Knight said he’s confident the steakhouse will separate itself with strong customer service and a high-caliber menu.

C. Knight’s Steakhouse isn’t the only new business planned at the center. Two fitness studios, FitRide and Pure Barre, have locations in the works.

This is a relocation for FitRide, which offers indoor cycling and was previously located in the El Dorado Hills Business Park. The new site near Early Toast Mimosa House is scheduled to open Nov. 1. It fills just under 2,000 square feet.

El Dorado Hills will be the second local site for Pure Barre, which is based in Spartanburg, South Carolina. It also has a Roseville location. Classes at Pure Barre include exercises designed to sculpt arms, tone thighs and flatten abdominal muscles. The location covers between 1,300 and 1,400 square feet and is near Target. It’s expected to open by the end of the year.

As retail has shifted online, the operators of the El Dorado Hills Town Center have heightened their focus on experience-oriented offerings, including restaurants and fitness studios.

Haunted house spooky and twisted

Village Life
October 5,2016

She's back — Alice, seen here with Hands4Hope volunteer ???, returns to the Scare4Hope Haunted House opening in El Dorado Hills Town Center on Oct. 7.

She’s back — Alice, seen here with Hands4Hope volunteer ???, returns to the Scare4Hope Haunted House opening in El Dorado Hills Town Center on Oct. 7.

Once upon a time, the fairytale characters of Dream Harbor lived in a world free of evil. Until one day, when Little Red Riding Hood discovered the underworld, Nightmare Harbor, a dark and delightfully demented place where comforting fairytales take a twisted turn.

Search parties are assembled to look for her; the only known information Red left behind is a torn warning note. Join a search party to find Little Red Riding Hood at the Scare4Hope Haunted House in El Dorado Hills Town Center, opening Oct. 7.

You won’t leave disappointed. You may not leave at all.

“I’m so excited about the Twisted Fairytale theme. With such a creative and dedicated team, I cannot wait to see the final product this year,” said Sarah Connor, Hands4Hope Marketing Team youth lead.

For the past six years Hands4Hope and El Dorado Hills Town Center have partnered to host a haunted house for the community. For the second year, Scare4Hope, a youth-led production company under the umbrella organization Hands4Hope – Youth Making A Difference, is planning, implementing and operating the Hands4Hope Haunted House. It is organized in such a fashion as to mimic a functioning production company with the end product being an incredibly scary and entertaining haunted house. The management and staff of Scare4Hope are youth and the goals are to raise funds for Hands4Hope, build life and career skills and have fun. The youth management of this company is mentored by adults with current or past career experience in their area of focus. Scare4Hope youth and their mentors have been working hard since May to make this annual haunted house the best yet.

“The Scare4Hope team includes some of the most passionate and hard working people I have met, who are all hard workers and come up with inventive solutions to challenges we face,” said Youth Project Manager Madeline Simko, an Oak Ridge High School senior. “The adult mentors all do an amazing job of letting the youth take the lead, helping steer the committees in the right direction while letting participants gain leadership experience. The haunted house is a very unique project. It is not very often where youth are given the opportunity to lead a project of this magnitude.”

The Scare4Hope Haunted House will be open from 6 to 10 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 7-31, at 4367 Town Center Blvd., Suite 134, El Dorado Hills — next to Hop House and Bistro 33. Tickets are $6 or $5 with a can of nonperishable food and can be purchased in advance at Face In A Book and the California Welcome Center in Town Center. For additional information on the Haunted House visit the Scare4Hope website at or Scare4Hope Facebook page.

The Scare4Hope Haunted House benefits Hands4Hope’s youth development and outreach programs and the food donated benefits the Food Bank of El Dorado County. Sponsors who made this event possible include El Dorado Hills Town Center, Western Sign Company, Datwyler Orthodontics, Nugget, Fork Lift, Morris Law Group, Roebbelen, REY Engineers, Hop House, Serrano Associates and Placer Title Company.

Hands4Hope is a non-profit, youth-driven service learning and outreach organization based in El Dorado County whose mission is to empower youth to make a positive difference in the world around them through exploration, action and leadership. For more information on Hands4Hope visit or call (916) 294-7426.

Folsom Lake Symphony will make you feel like dancing

By | September 07, 2016
Mountain Democrat 

El Dorado Hills Town Center’s Live on the Boulevard summer musical celebration will present the Folsom Lake Symphony for the grand finale of the season.

About 60 musicians in the symphony will be performing music for dancing or at least toe-tapping as they fill the air with vibrant and rhythmic music.

The annual “symphony al fresco” at the Steven Young Amphitheater is appropriately titled “Dancin’ in the Streets” and has a distinct jazz flavor featuring selections from Duke Ellington’s favorites, Barroso’s Brazil, a special treat from jazz legend David Brubeck — “Unsquare Dance,” Bernstein’s “Mambo” and much more.

The light-hearted concert is Thursday, Sept. 8 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. What hits an even sweeter note is this concert is free.

Conductor comments

Peter Jaffe, music director and conductor of the symphony, is enthusiastic about the performance.

“It will be a great time,” Jaffe said. “Featuring the orchestra in this series has become a wonderful tradition. Many in the audience are returnees — ‘cause they know how fun it is. But we also get some folks who are hearing a symphony orchestra live for the very first time — and we love that, too. The program is upbeat and designed for all ages. Spoiler alert — we always love to involve the audience at key moments, so once in a while you can expect to be asked to clap your hands, snap your fingers and even shout ‘mambo!’”

Besides clapping and snapping, dancing might also be on the program.

“Practically all the numbers we’re playing are inspired by dance rhythms,” Jaffe said. “We’re mainly expecting that people will kinda feel like they’re dancin’ in their seats, hence the moniker for the program. But we also did have in mind that some folks might actually want to get up and dance. So, no pressure, but if you do dance — cool.”

Jaffe also added four things the audience will find most surprising about the Folsom Lake Symphony.

“The excellence of the orchestra, how fun it is, how it makes you smile and a feeling of local pride — the realization that we’ve got this fabulous symphony right here,” the conductor said.

New program

Even though the event is a summer tradition, they don’t perform the same repertoire. They like to change things up a bit and offer variety.

“We like to vary the program every year, so just about all of our selections haven’t yet been performed in this outdoor series. Some of the numbers will give previews of what’s in store for our coming season, others will be played just for this event,” Jaffe said.

Music for all ages

To entertain the younger and older generations the symphony plays various themes to strike a chord to appeal to a wide audience. For example, earlier this year due to the most requested response on its patron survey, the symphony performed a special feature, “Hollywood Hits,” comprised of selections from movie classics that ranged from “Gone With the Wind” and “Exodus” to “Star Wars” and “Ghostbusters.”

Many think that just adults enjoy symphonies. Jaffe countered this notion, “Of course it’s not true that we’re for older folks only. The music we perform in our themed events — think of our recent ‘Sports Night’ or ‘Hollywood Hits’ programs — includes contemporary popular fare, but we also want the younger set to realize that the classics are for everybody, too. We strive to be accessible, not stuffy. You can come dressed however you like and I’ll often speak from the stage.”

Jaffe also believes music is a catalyst for remembering and making memories.

“Our music is designed to stir feelings and the emotional spectrum possessed by our youth can often be an even wider and more intense range than what we get from becoming ‘mature.’ We have student discounts, we love to see kids at all of our events — and we do currently, but naturally we’d love for the numbers to increase,” Jaffe said. “The lower age limit is entirely up to the discretion of the parents. There are a few 3-year-olds out there with fabulous attention spans, whereas some slightly older kids have trouble sitting still for more than 10 minutes. The parents will always know best.”

He added, “And teenagers — we’d love for the symphony to be an opportunity to show depth and dimension. Most of your friends are already going to the movies. Show some ingenuity and take your date to the symphony.”

More involvement

The symphony recently began offering a Family Concert, which will be next year on Saturday, March 11, 2017. It will provide a special opportunity for youngsters through oldsters to explore symphonic music in an engaging, upbeat program, replete with an instrument “petting zoo,” where folks can learn more about the instruments up close and try their hand at playing a musical instrument.

He revealed that future plans include a richer experience for the community.

“We want to expand our educational and outreach programs, bring more and more of the types of fabulous guest artists we’ve seen in just the past few seasons and reach ever-higher planes of artistic excellence,” Jaffe said. “It’s a very exciting time for the growth of our organization. We’ve got a great season coming up, performing at Harris Center for the Arts, a magnificent venue. We’d love for people to check out all the upcoming concerts at With the number of concerts and different themes and styles we present, there’s something for everyone. You’ll never forget a trip to the concert hall.”

The symphony is looking forward to playing Dancin’ in the Streets this Thursday. Even though 60 seems like a lot of musicians who will be playing at Live on the Boulevard, during the rest of the year, depending on the repertoire, some of the concerts feature 70 musicians.

“We have auditions every year. In fact, by the time this hits print, we’ll have just had them,” Jaffe said. “Most of the players have been with the group for a long time, but we do have some vacancies every year and this season in particular, the number of instrumentalists wanting to audition for those few spots has hit a record high. For those who are returning, many have played since the beginning 13 years ago, when the orchestra was formed with founders Bruce Woodbury, Dick Merz and Marsha Williams, along with music director Emeritus Michael Neumann.”

He exuberated pride and praise for the symphony and the impact it has had on the community.

“The players have a really high talent level and they’re all here for the sheer love of music,” he said. “An orchestra embodies that wonderful phenomenon of synergy — that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. On the one hand, our culture is exposed to the symphonic music quite a bit through movies, TV and video games. But seeing it and hearing it live is a unique experience that simply can’t be beat and getting to be a crucial part of enabling that to happen — that’s what I live for.”

He also extended praise and appreciation to those who helped to make the concert possible at Live on the Boulevard.

“We really want to thank Tony Mansour, Kevin Nagle, Natalie Buerki and all the folks at the El Dorado Hills Town Center for making this series come to life and for putting the amazing collection of talent that comprises the Folsom Lake Symphony in the spotlight,” he said.

Ending on a high note

Enjoy a memorable evening toe-tapping or dancing at the scenic Steven Young Amphitheatre, 4364 Town Center Blvd. in El Dorado Hills, with the surroundings of fountains and nature along the waterway. The concert is festival-style seating and guests are invited to bring blankets and chairs to enjoy the show. No tables or roped off areas are allowed.

Ruffhaus Hot Dogs will have food at the concerts or concertgoers can dine at one of the many restaurants in Town Center. As a courtesy please do not park on Town Center Boulevard or in spaces directly behind the businesses. Due to the large crowd, it is recommended that dogs and other pets remain at home.

For more information visit

Petty Theft jams like the Heartbreakers

Village Life- August 28, 2016

'You Don't Know How It Feels' but you can get really close to a Heartbreakers' live concert experience as Petty Theft rocks the Live on the Boulevard stage Thursday night. Courtesy photo

‘You Don’t Know How It Feels’ but you can get really close to a Heartbreakers’ live concert experience as Petty Theft rocks the Live on the Boulevard stage Thursday night. Courtesy photo

Petty Theft, made up of six professional Bay Area musicians, will be delivering Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ songs at El Dorado Hills Town Center’s free Live on the Boulevard summer concert series on Thursday, Sept. 1 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

The group will perform everything from revered classics to current hits true to the originals and in the spirit of this legendary band’s live shows.

Since Petty Theft’s inception in 2003 the band has been entertaining audiences with an electrifying performance in clubs, private parties and festivals, large and small. The group plays approximately 50 shows a year to sold out crowds.

Primarily playing in the greater Bay Area, Petty Theft also performs in the Northern California region from Santa Cruz to Tahoe, up to Mendocino and everywhere in between. When the fan base calls they make the trip to Southern California.

Earlier this year the band played its first dates in Portland, Ore. and Seattle, Wash. at two popular and historical venues — McMenamin’s Crystal Ballroom in Portland and The Showbox in Seattle.

Petty Theft is billed as “San Francisco’s ultimate tribute to Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.”

Current band members

Drummer Adam “Bagel” Berkowitz plays with an infectious groove and has produced, engineered, mixed and drummed on more than 30 albums, one charted at No. 39 on the Americana charts and another recently moved to No. 16 on the CMJ Hip Hop charts. Berkowitz was one of 25 “up and coming” unsigned drummers across America to receive an endorsement deal with Paiste Cymbals (the world’s third largest manufacturer of cymbals, gongs and metal percussion) and has toured throughout the continental U.S. and abroad.

Django Bayless on bass guitar and backing vocals is a founding member of Petty Theft. He also performs with The 85s (an ’80s tribute band). Bayless solidifies the rhythm section with his steady bass playing and anchors the vocals with his pristine high harmonies.

Dan Durkin on lead vocals, acoustic guitar and harmonica is a founding member of Petty Theft as well. He also founded Marin County bands Frontline and East of Eden. His band East of Eden has shared the stage with Michael McDonald, Chris Isaak, Bruce Hornsby and even drummer Pete Best of The Beatles. His left-handed and upside-down guitar playing has fascinated audiences and leaves other guitarists scratching their heads.

“As a youngster I was a huge Beatles fan. I saw The Beatles on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ and wanted to be Ringo and learned to play drums,” he said. “I also liked that Paul McCartney was playing his bass left-handed. I used to mime to the songs and play in front of the mirror and hold a guitar left-handed with the strings backwards — having an unaltered right-handed guitar held left-handed with the high string on the top side of the neck,” Durkin explained. “I started to teach myself how to play that way and got used to it; it felt natural to play left-handed upside down, even though I’m right-handed. I figured out the chords upside down as time went by and it seemed to work for me.”

Keyboardist John Robin Varn started playing professionally when he was 19 years old, working with various local artists until joining The Neal Schon Band for its debut U.S. tour and follow-up recording. This led to a full-time touring position with the piano-based pop group Thriving Ivory and a spot on the VH1’s “Best Cruise Ever.”

Michael Papenburg on guitar, a Bay Area native, is a sought after session player who has been performing in Bay Area bands since the early ’80s. He loves playing slide guitar and has been a fan of Tom Petty since he bought a 45 of “Breakdown” when it was first released.

Playing lead guitar is Monroe Grisman, who is an accomplished veteran of the Bay Area music scene and has performed with numerous bands that have toured both domestically and abroad. Currently he works as a producer and session musician on local and international recording projects and is also a member of one of the Bay Area’s most promising original rock bands, American Drag.

Music runs in Grisman’s family. His grandfather was a professional trombonist and his father, David Grisman, a renowned bluegrass/newgrass mandolinist and composer of acoustic music named him after bluegrass music pioneer Bill Monroe.

Not a copycat

Grisman described what Petty Theft is and isn’t.

“As far as tribute and cover bands go, we don’t do the costume thing and try to be Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. We really put a lot of care into honoring these songs and the music that the original guys — who we like to refer to as ‘the real deal’ — put together and created,” he said.

“While we really try to nail the signature parts and hooks to the songs, we also allow a little bit of wiggle room to be ourselves within the music and in that sense it makes us more of a real band creatively,” he continued. “We’re really more of a celebration of the music than a tribute band. I think the audiences and fans that come to our shows really appreciate that aspect of us and it is really why we have been having the success that we have had. It’s a Petty party and the audience is in on it with us as much as we are … which makes for a great shared experience.”

Petty Theft is also considering the idea of releasing a live album and donating all the proceeds to several of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ charities such as the Tazzy Animal Rescue Fund, Rock the Dogs, a charity started by Heartbreakers’ lead guitarist Mike Campbell and his wife Marcie.

Petty Theft is looking forward to playing at Thursday’s Live on the Boulevard concert and revealed what the audience can expect.

“This will be our sixth or seventh year in a row performing at this summer concert series so it will be yet another packed crowd of enthusiastic music lovers singing and dancing to two full sets of all the best classics from the Tom Petty songbook,” Grisman said. “In other words, a lot of fun. If you want to go see the world’s greatest Tom Petty band go see Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. But, if you can’t do that … come see Petty Theft and join our Petty party.”

Nostalgia on the Boulevard

The party takes place at the Steven Young Amphitheatre, 4364 Town Center Blvd. in El Dorado Hills. It is festival-style seating and guests are invited to bring blankets and chairs to enjoy the show. No tables or roped off areas are allowed.

Ruffhaus Hot Dogs will have food at the concert or concertgoers can dine at one of the many restaurants in Town Center. As a courtesy do not park on Town Center Boulevard or in spaces directly behind the businesses. Due to the large crowd, it is recommended that dogs and other pets remain at home.

For more information visit

Game Face

For Kevin Nagle, Capital Region sport connoisseur, failure has never been an option

Comstock’s Magazine
Aug 23,2016

By Jeff Wilser

Kevin Nagle has held many jobs. He has cut lawns, pulled weeds, flipped burgers, washed dishes, pumped gasoline and made millions in the pharmaceutical industry. He has also been a bartender, hot dog salesman, partial owner in the Sacramento Kings (and a crucial reason the team stayed in the Capital Region), real-estate mogul (El Dorado Hills Town Center) and, most recently, primary owner of the Sacramento Republic FC and the man most hell-bent on bringing Major League Soccer to town.

How did Nagle, now 62, go from weed-puller to angel investor? He shares his maxims of leadership, including how he somehow reads 300 emails a day, makes work an obsession and why he feels soccer is the future of America.

Failure is not an option

Nagle had his first job at the age of six. He chased down lost golf balls, wiped them off, then sold them to amused golfers on the 18th hole. “It took me six weeks to realize that I really needed to sell them on the 14th or 15th hole,” he says, laughing a bit. This early brush with capitalism made him $3 or $4 a day, which he dutifully gave to his mother, who raised him and his two sisters largely by herself. The family lived in borderline poverty. In Moorhead, Minn., young Nagle grew up in a house where bill collectors pounded the door, threatened eviction, and nearly switched off the phones and electricity. When it came to making extra money for his family, “failure was not an option,” he says, repeating that mantra several times over multiple conversations.

Kevin Nagle (top row, second from the left) handed his coach on the Lifeguards $2 per game to pay off his uniform. (The coach kept his hat as collateral.)
Kevin Nagle (top row, second from the left) handed his coach on the Lifeguards $2 per game to pay off his uniform. (The coach kept his hat as collateral.) 

At age 12, failure was not an option on his school’s baseball team, where, unable to pay the $35 for a uniform, Nagle made his coach a surprising pitch: “I figured we had 17 games in the season, and if I paid him $2 a game, then eventually I would have my dues paid.”

The coach agreed, but with one condition: He would keep the uniform’s red hat as collateral, meaning Nagle had to scrounge for one on his own. He rummaged through six garage sales before finding a suitable cap and then MacGuyvered on the school’s logo using his mother’s sewing kit. Done. Splitting time at second base, third base and the outfield, he became the best player on the team.

And failure was not an option when, 45 years later, the Sacramento Kings nearly left the city.  In 1994, Nagle had moved from L.A. to Sacramento “for a quality of life change.” By 2011 he had roots here. “Kevin was the MVP of the corporate push to keep the Kings in Sacramento, no question,” says Kunal Merchant, the former chief of staff to Mayor Kevin Johnson and now, Nagle’s chief adviser on wooing the MLS. “Kevin had to show the NBA that Sacramento was a viable market, that it had a strong corporate base and that it punches above its weight class. Kevin embodied everything we were trying to prove to the NBA. He got it. As a business person, he knew that we needed to speak to the NBA in business terms.”

Thanks to Nagle’s full-court press, Johnson was able to raise $10 million in corporate sponsorships in 10 days. When Johnson announced the figure to the NBA, Nagle says the officials didn’t believe it. Not normally one to brag, Nagle admits that, “[former NBA Commissioner] David Stern sent me an email saying that if there were an owners’ Hall of Fame, I’d be in it.” (He kept the email.)

Adapt. Reinvent.

Failure is not an option, but neither is doing the same thing again and again. Nagle’s itch for reinvention started with baseball, when at age 12, he played a pickup game against some 30-year-olds. An aggressive hitter who crowded the plate, Nagle eeked out a base hit and then, while on first base, the next hitter lost control of the bat. Like a missile in flight, the bat flew straight toward Nagle, slamming the back of his head into a pole.

The bat broke his nose, shattered his teeth, split his lip and knocked him out cold. “The guys just threw me in their car while I was unconscious and then dropped me off in front of my house. I crawled inside.” He was then hospitalized.

Nagle returned to baseball, but was never quite the same aggressive hitter. “I started bailing on inside pitches, and that used to be my forte,” he says. But he soon found a new athletic calling: wrestling. He won tournament after tournament, earned a college scholarship (he didn’t take it) and one of his only losses was to a guy who was the third alternate to the Olympics.

Nagle would continue to adapt throughout his career. In 1980, his first grown-up job was at the firm E.F. Hutton in L.A., which was then the second largest investment bank in the U.S. “But I realized that was not my thing,” he says. “It was boring to me.” His studies of market segments while in graduate school at USC, where he earned a master’s in business and public administration, gave him a hunch: “It was apparent to me that health care was going to be wide open for the next several decades.”

He cut his teeth in big pharma, at a company called Upjohn, and scrambled up the corporate ladder. Then, at 39, he started his own business, leading a string of various pharmaceutical companies (largely specializing in member benefits). This culminated in 2014 when a firm he cofounded, Envision Pharmaceutical Services, sold to Rite Aid for a cool $2.3 billion. He owned 22 percent — not too shabby for a former golf ball chaser.

So again he adapted. Armed with this war chest, Nagle invested in the El Dorado Hills Town Center, the Kings — and local filmmaking (a “labor of love,” he says, that mostly uses local actors; one film will soon be submitted to the Toronto Film Festival). Throw in the Sacramento FC, and it’s no surprise that the Sacramento Business Journal named him 2015’s Executive of the Year.

Make Work an Obsession

When asked for the core principles that help explain his success, Nagle doesn’t miss a beat. “There are two things you have to have. One: passion. Two: obsession. A book ought to be written about that.”

Underneath all the warm and fuzzy business jargon, however, the message actually has a hard, sobering lesson: Success comes with, and as a result of, really long hours. This is not a particularly catchy or inspiring slogan, but it’s a crucial part of what makes Nagle tick. He doesn’t cut corners, and he out-hustles his competition. As a young baseball player he would trudge to the batting cages, again and again, and keep swinging until he corrected any glitches.

“Even [NFL] football owners realize that not in our lifetime, but after ours, soccer will be the No. 1 sport in America.”KEVIN NAGLE, CEO, SAC SOCCER AND ENTERTAINMENT HOLDINGS

His office, which he moved into in July, is adorned with sports memorabilia, his favorite of which is a USC helmet he received at a sort of training camp where CEOs and USC coaches learned from one another. (The CEOs were even required to gear up and scrimmage on the field.) “We concluded that the fundamentals of success are the same whether you’re playing a team sport or managing a corporation — it’s the obsession for perfection,” he says.

Yet those long hours take a toll. “When I got married and had children, I was gone a lot,” Nagle concedes. He made it a priority to attend his two daughters’ soccer games and activities — he estimates that he made “probably 98 percent” of their school events — but also admits that his work played a role in his divorce. “I’d be on the road a lot, trying to build a better life for them,” he explains.

One day, his daughter asked him why he wasn’t home more often at night. So he drove his daughters (then ages 6 and 3) to a “part of town that wasn’t so nice,” and said to them, “If you want, I can be home every night, but that means no new dresses, no dolls and no sporting equipment.” Nagle pauses in his story. “I was home two nights in a row after that, and the girls asked me, ‘Hey Dad, are you sure you don’t have to be somewhere?’”

Perhaps Nagle is a workaholic, but he’s a highly functioning one, and he still carves out time for ample reading (he’s currently devouring the memoirs of Ulysses Grant), bike riding (in the ’80s he was a competitive cyclist, because of course), and the requisite gamut of Kings and Republic games.

He also found some productivity hacks. “I only schedule four meetings a day,” he says, which bakes in time for him to answer emails (he gets between 300 and 400 a day); consume content (ranging from The Economist and The New York Times to CNN, MSNBC and Fox News because “It’s good to look at as much as you can,”); and brainstorm on “the next big thing.” Speaking of which …

All Hail the Republic

When Nagle was in eighth grade, his physical education teacher gave him a lesson he would never forget. The PE teacher held up a soccer ball to the class and said, “Some day this is going to be the future of America.”

Yeah right, Nagle thought at the time. That’s not our sport.

Not normally one to brag, Nagle admits that, “[former NBA Commissioner] David Stern sent me an email saying that if there were an owners’ Hall of Fame, I’d be in it.”
Not normally one to brag, Nagle admits that, “[former NBA Commissioner] David Stern sent me an email saying that if there were an owners’ Hall of Fame, I’d be in it.” 

That was then. Just as Nagle had spotted health care in the ‘80s as a lucrative opportunity, he now sees soccer as a long-term no brainer. “There’s unbelievable momentum,” he says. “The percentage year-over-year growth in valuation is higher than every other league. Attendance has moved passed virtually every other sport. Even [NFL] football owners realize that not in our lifetime, but after ours, soccer will be the No. 1 sport in America.”

So he’s cracking open the Kevin Nagle playbook. He says Sacramento needs three things to successfully nab an MLS franchise: a great fanbase, a solid ownership group and a soccer-specific stadium. Nagle is bullish on all three.

“We’ve clearly demonstrated the fanbase,” he says. “We’re special here in Sacramento.”  The data backs this up, with an eye-popping 9,000 season ticket holders despite prices that “are close to MLS [levels].” (The Republic FC’s 2014 USL Pro Championship win helps.) Nagle is hands-on with the ownership group, and he has lassoed a glittering roster of investors that includes the York Family of San Francisco 49er fame. And the stadium, of course, boasts a slick design that factors in feedback from both players and coaches. “We asked the players what they felt was important, and they said noise.” Nagle promises it will be loud.

To Nagle, this investment is about more than just the sport of soccer. It has a ripple effect. “This is going to inject billions into the local economy,” he says. Restaurants, concerts, nightlife, shopping — all will get a boost.

“Kevin understands the area, and he loves it,” says Tony Mansour, his managing partner at the El Dorado Hills Town Center. “And when Kevin is passionate about things, he’ll pursue it, and he’ll get it done.”

For Nagle, the question is not if but when the MLS will award the franchise. He expects that by 2020, “I would love to see the first ball kicked off the pitch.” And he even floats 2019 as a possibility. “Even if the stadium was not ready by 2019, we would find a way to make it happen.”

Because failure is not an option.

Two-in-one tribute goes Live on the Boulevard

Forejour takes the Steven Young Amphitheater stage for the Live on the Boulevard free concert Thursday Aug. 25 at 6:30 p.m. Courtesy photo
Village Life
August 22, 2016
Forejour takes the Steven Young Amphitheater stage for the Live on the Boulevard free concert Thursday Aug. 25 at 6:30 p.m. Courtesy photo

Forejour will be recreating, with stunning accuracy, the music of two beloved multi-platinum mega-bands of the ’80s, Foreigner and Journey, at El Dorado Hills Town Center’s free Live on the Boulevard summer concert series this Thursday, Aug. 25 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Take a trip back in time, or experience the music of the ’80s today, as they sing Journey’s most popular song, “Don’t Stop Believing.” That hit song, by the way, is the most downloaded song recorded in the 20th century. Other chart-toppers that have touched millions of fans such as “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” “Anyway You Want It,” “Faithfully,” “Stone In Love,” “Lights” and more will also be on the set list.

Foreigner favorites include “Feels Like the First Time,” “I Want to Know What Love Is,” “Juke Box Hero” and many more.

Forejour members include MaryBeth Keller who is the manager and booking agent, her husband Chris Keller playing bass guitar and singing vocals, David Kelleher singing lead, Frank Acosta on guitar and vocals, Darin Fister at the drums and Rob Carter who plays keyboards and also provides vocals.

How they began

“The nucleus of Forejour took shape with Chris and Darin in an Antioch, California garage in 1980. They performed and recorded in various bands over the decades, most notably with Fragile Glass. The two, who are now brothers-in-law, recorded two albums with present day smooth jazz artist Steve Oliver. In 2005, they formed Replica – 80’s Rock Revisited,” MaryBeth explained.

MaryBeth found inspiration to give the band focus when she stumbled upon a dual tribute band in England, A Foreigner’s Journey, that was having its own success.

“We all loved the idea. I came up with ‘Journier’ as a band name. But Darin suggested that we try to play on the stolen identity theme that some tributes have so cleverly employed. He thought some derivative of ‘forgery’ would be good, so by combining the first four letters of both band names, the name Forejour was born,” Chris said.

That spelling is misleading as the band finds many mispronounce the name thinking it is a French word. The correct pronunciation would sound phonetically, ‘forger.”

In testing out their new repertoire, Replica experienced enthusiastic audience reactions to Foreigner and Journey songs and so in the spring of 2013, Forejour emerged, fueled by the quintet’s chemistry and a love for the music of Foreigner and Journey.

Forejour plays strictly in California. The band carries a streak of sold out shows at clubs and small theaters, as well as winery concerts. The largest free concerts have numbered upwards of 3,000 in attendance. They have received invitations to travel out of state, but the logistics haven’t worked.

Balancing it all

Forejour is made up of musicians from all over the state, each of whom has to find balance in their rock star nightlife, day jobs and family life.

Fister lives in Brentwood and has been playing the drums for 38 years. “Most days I’m a prominent Porsche mechanic/parts builder, and on the weekends I get to pretend I am a rock star,” he said.

Kelleher is originally from the Boston area and currently lives in Martinez. He plays frequently as a solo artist in many Bay Area night clubs and restaurants.

Acosta, who lives in Concord, is the only full time musician in the band. He plays in three other groups in addition to his original band. He also runs Synergy Studios and is a piano tuner for Steinway.

Carter lives in Brentwood, plays in two other bands and works at Lawrence Livermore Labs.

Chris and MaryBeth live in Pioneer, where Chris works for FedEx and MaryBeth — when not managing the band’s affairs — juggles her time as legal secretary for a law firm in Oakland and is also a talent buyer/booking agent for an upscale nightclub in Napa.

MaryBeth admitted, “We seldom rehearse as a group. We’re all so busy and live so far apart, it just isn’t practical more than a couple of times a year. One challenge is balancing home life with a musician’s life. Four of the five members are married, all have children, some adult and some still at home. Since we’ve been playing many of these songs since they first became radio hits, three decades ago, we know them pretty well.”

Concert time

“We play very true to the original and have exceptional musicianship. We’re a fun rock show with great songs that we all grew up with from Foreigner and Journey. I think the audience will be surprised about how close to the originals we sound,” Fister said with confidence.

The band promises the Live on the Boulevard audience will experience a great rock show where the band having as much fun as the crowd.

“We all grew up listening to these bands, and want to do the songs justice by performing them with energy and excitement — like when your favorite song comes on the radio, you can’t help but sing along,” said MaryBeth.

And don’t expect a Foreigner or Journey look-a-like contest as for Forejour, it’s all about the music.

“Unlike other tributes, we’re not impersonators. We don’t wear wigs and costumes,” Chris said, adding, “Although we play the songs faithful to the originals, many fade out at the end. That’s our opportunity to improvise. We sometimes take the audience on a wild ride in those moments. We call those ‘morphs’ and audiences love them.”

Forejour’s testimony for faithfully performing Foreigner and Journey music is the result of demonstrating their dedication, energy and passion on stage, as well as with each other. Find out for yourself Thursday night as the Live on the Boulevard concert series continues.

Nine new businesses at El Dorado Hills Town Center

Variety of services enhances overall customer attraction

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016
Folsom Telegraph

By: Staff ReportEl Dorado Hills Town Center continues to grow and thrive. Nine new businesses signed leases for more than 15,000 square feet, and are opened or are scheduled to open soon.

“We are continuing to have a great year, as more new tenants enter the El Dorado Hills Town Center pipe line, ” says Tony Mansour, co-general partner of the Mansour/Nagle Partnership.

In addition to current newcomers Rubio’s Coastal Grill, O1 Communications and NorCal Cryotherapy, now open are Folsom Lake Eye Care, Tea Xotics, EDH Insurance Services, and Coastline Travel Advisors. Coming soon are The Game Room Adventure Café and Blow Me Away.”Our strategy that we began executing on two years ago is yielding excellent results,” says Kevin Nagle, co-partner of The Mansour/Nagle Partnership. “ The new tenants, offering a wide range of services, are loving the traffic and that attracts other great businesses.”

Now Open

Folsom Lake Eye Care is a full scope Optometry/Optical/Contact Lens practice. They boast state-of-the-art equipment including retinal photography and will be offering SpecTech, a virtual visual experience.Tea Xotics boutique features an 80+ loose leaf tea bar that serves hot and iced teas and coffees and specialty tea beverages. Tea Xotics also carries premium olive oils, vinegars, locally made soaps, candles, and array of bath and body items that are made locally or by Tea Xotics. El Dorado Hills Insurance Solutions, Inc. specializes in life insurance and annuities. Coastline Travel Advisors is a Virtuoso affiliate travel office. Services Include group travel and custom, individual-travel requests, multi-generation family travel, and spa and wellness travel.

Opening Soon

The Game Room Adventure Cafe´ (GRAC), the Sacramento region’s first game café/escape room combination, will open in August. It will serve cafe-style food and provide wood tables and chairs designed for comfort and hours of board game activities. Blow Me Away is a luxury, blow-dry bar that provides an array of beauty services and a private room available for group reservations.

Joy and Madness — Delivering soul and funk to Live on the Boulevard

Joy and Madness brings a fresh and funky energy to Town Center this Thursday in another Live on the Boulevard free concert. Band members include Tony Marvelli, Hans Eberbach, Miss Nyxi, Bobby G, Jeremy Springer, Andrew Enberg, Raul Sandoval, left to right, and Tim Taylor, not pictured. Courtesy photo

Joy and Madness brings a fresh and funky energy to Town Center this Thursday in another Live on the Boulevard free concert. Band members include Tony Marvelli, Hans Eberbach, Miss Nyxi, Bobby G, Jeremy Springer, Andrew Enberg, Raul Sandoval, left to right, and Tim Taylor, not pictured. Courtesy photo

Sherri Bergmann
Village Life correspondent

Joy and Madness, a talented nine-piece soul and funk explosion, will be making the dance floor move at El Dorado Hills Town Center’s free Live on the Boulevard summer concert series Thursday, Aug. 18th from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Joy and Madness is a Sacramento-based music phenomenon that has been rocking stages all over California since 2012. It has shared the stage with Tower of Power, Collective Soul, The Monophonics, Trombone Shorty and more, bringing high energy, grooves and fun for audiences and fans at popular festivals and clubs.

Frontman Hans Eberbach is an award-winning vocalist and songwriter.

Eberbach opened up about how the band came together and got its name.

“The band was started after splitting from a previous band that many of us were in that played obscure funk and soul music covers generally from the Memphis and New Orleans areas. About two-thirds of the members of Joy and Madness were in that band,” Eberbach said.

“After a fairly acrimonious split, we decided to regroup as a new band with the intention of writing original music in a similar style while mixing in new flavors from other genres like rock and rhythm and blues, electronic music and jazz,” he continued. “We wanted to craft a sweet blend of hooky, tightly written, groove-oriented songs with classic pop sensibilities that could be stretched out and jammed in a live show.”

The band

The members of Joy and Madness include: Hans Eberbach — lead vocals; Jeremy Springer —  keys, samples, loops; Bobby G — lead and rhythm guitars; Miss Nyxi — bass and vocals; Andrew Enberg — drums; Ryan Sacco — percussion; Tony Marvelli — trumpet; Tim Taylor — tenor sax and Raul Sandoval — Bari sax.

Eberbach admitted his wife came up with the name of the band and explained, “It described exactly what the band was going through at the time with all the emotions and drama of the break up from the previous band. The funny thing is, we had a number of brainstorming sessions for the name that may — or may not have — involved some beer. We would get real excited by an idea and Jeremy would immediately buy the domain name. The next day when everyone sobered up, we realized it wasn’t as cool as we thought and abandoned the idea, leaving Jeremy with a useless domain. We must have done that three or four times before settling on Joy and Madness.”

On stage, off stage

Although serious musicians, the band members also live a serious life when they aren’t on stage. Enberg teaches music for a living, Marvelli is the music director at River City High, Nyxi teaches as well and runs a choir.

Eberbach elaborated on Nyxi’s talent. “She has a degree in ethnic music — or something — from UCLA. She’s certainly developed a following of fans of the band that are all her own. You definitely see a section of the crowd that’s more dude heavy in front of her. That said, she is praised for her skills on bass, bottom line and that’s no joke. She’s a huge personality and a total bad-ass as a musician. Rock star. No stalkers yet, thank God!”

He continued about the other band members. “Jeremy is the motor of the band, handling much of the not-so-fun business stuff. He’s responsible for so much of where we are now, and he never asks for pats on the back. It sounds cliché, but the band truly is a family — squabbles and all. Each of us look out for each other and care about this band as a whole.”

Marvelli has been playing trumpet since he was 10 years old. “At an early age I was introduced to the working musicians in Sacramento and got to watch some amazing performances, mostly jazz. I went to the University of North Texas and studied jazz for an undergrad. After that I went out on the road for a bit. I got to travel to Asia twice, the Caribbean and all over the U.S. I’ve even crossed both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans by cruise ship performing in the show band,” Marvelli said.

After all of the traveling Marvelli said it was time to settle down and so he became a high school music teacher. “I love being able to teach and still perform. I’ve been with Joy and Madness for over three years and consider myself very lucky to be hooked up with this group of talented musicians. Each gig we do seems to be better and better. I look forward to what the future brings with this wonderful band.”

From jail to the stage

Unpredictable twists and turns in life landed Eberbach where he is today. After his first record deal with Sony/Columbia “went down in flames” in the middle of a national tour, Eberbach ended up working for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department in the main jail downtown from 2004 to 2009. “I worked in booking and the central control room. I was non-sworn, but had to wear the black and gold uniform the deputies wear. It was the last place in my life I ever thought I’d end up, especially after signing a record deal with Sony/Columbia,” Eberbach said.

“I was seeing all walks of life as people were brought in from the street and I gained a unique insight on what life is like for people on both sides of that glass. It was an up close study on the human animal. I was writing songs through it all, but I was miserable. I was 40 pounds heavier, slowly recording a solo album after the break-up of my previous band, Looking Star,” he explained.

“Slowly I began to form a new paradigm for my life as I realized that I had to get back to playing music for my life again or I was going to literally die. I had lost my will to really live life out fully, even with a beautiful family at home.”

Eberbach sought local opportunities to start building the possibility of a sustainable income with music and reached out to friends who pointed him in the right direction for picking up “bread and butter” gigs as a solo artist.

Eberbach received a call to sing for a band which slowly built a Northern California/Bay Area following over a few years. However, when that band split he started Hans! and the Hot Mess and then, he thought against all odds, Joy and Madness came together.

He continued, “You have to follow what you love if you have any passion for something at all. The culture we live in really gives us a lot of ways to ignore that but your soul feels the impact whether you acknowledge it or not. I’m thankful I’ve been given a second act and I’m excited to see what’s next with Joy and Madness and Hans! and the Hot Mess — or whatever else possesses me.”

Focusing on Joy and Madness Eberbach said, “Joy and Madness distinguishes itself from other bands by putting on a show that gives so much energy and a feeling of inclusiveness that people are able to completely release themselves to the music and get up and dance,” Eberbach continued.

“We don’t play well-known cover songs as a rule, so, it’s an amazing experience to see people go from sitting comfortably at a distance to throwing themselves into the fray after just a few songs.”

Lyrically the band touches on many themes including empathy, social equity, relationships and the state of America. The band is constantly evolving their sound and many songs include electronic elements. “It’s absolutely joyful and free, but hard hitting and visceral, too. There’s a playfulness, a sexiness and a real deep soul humanity.”

The band is writing new songs for an extended play (EP) release by the fall/winter of 2016, as well as developing a vinyl re-release of their first two EP’s combined. Their two EPs have won both Independent Music Awards and Akademia Music Awards and reaped glowing reviews.

No safe distances

Even though they’re willing to go to distant lands to share their music, distance is not want they want on stage. Having a close interaction with the audience is important to them.

“What the Live on the Boulevard audience can expect from us is a revelatory experience beyond the predictable and expected. No tired covers, no phoned-in performances and no ‘safe distances’. We’re all in this together, and they’re going to feel that. I think the audience will be surprised by how impacted they are by the performance,” Eberbach affirmed.

Experience it on the Boulevard

With a potent blend of high energy, pulsating music, horn lines and Eberbach’s connection with the audience to everyone will be pulled into the excitement of their Joy and Madness experience. Their exciting performance takes place at the Steven Young Amphitheatre, 4364 Town Center Blvd. in El Dorado Hills. The concert is festival-style seating and guests are invited to bring blankets and chairs to enjoy the show. No tables or roped off areas allowed.

For more information visit or

“Meet the Trojans” event at EDH Town Center

By  August 15, 2016 Mountain Democrat

 Fans got their first official look at this year's Oak Ridge High football and cheer programs during the annual "Meet the Trojans" event in EDH Town Center. Varsity players and cheerleaders were introduced, head football coach Eric Cavaliere addressed the crowd, and Trojan pride was on display as Cavaliere and Co. prepare for the upcoming fall schedule. Democrat photos by Jackie Penn
Fans got their first official look at this year’s Oak Ridge High football and cheer programs during the annual “Meet the Trojans” event in EDH Town Center. Varsity players and cheerleaders were introduced, head football coach Eric Cavaliere addressed the crowd, and Trojan pride was on display as Cavaliere and Co. prepare for the upcoming fall schedule. Democrat photos by Jackie Penn.



Unmasking the group Fleetwood Mask

Fleetwood Mask w

The talented members of Fleetwood Mask, with their uncanny recreation of the look and sound of one of rock’s most enduring and successful bands Fleetwood Mac, are dedicated to present an unforgettable musical evening on Thursday, Aug. 11 at the El Dorado Hills Town Center’s Live on the Boulevard from 6:30-8:30. What’s even better news is the summer concert series is free.

The band members include: Claudette Rodriguez, Barbara Martin, Mark Blasquez, Paul Jones and Don Oberempt.

Rodriguez (Stevie Nicks) has been singing since age 5. With her natural, quick vibrato, she learned she had a talent for vocal performance. Having the opportunity to perform Fleetwood Mac’s classic songs live is a “dream come true” for her.

Martin (Christine McVie), music director, has studied and taught classical, jazz and blues piano and she can play just about any instrument. She has always been inspired by the singing/songwriting skills of Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie and due to that inspiration, she has performed and published many songs of her own.

Blasquez’s (Lindsey Buckingham) original music can be heard on movie trailers and TV shows such as “CSI,” “Burn Notice,” “Smallville” and many others. His signature musicianship channels the spirit and sound of Lindsey Buckingham.

Jones (John McVie), bass player, is the one who had the vision to unite the band in 2011. He started playing bass before he was a teenager and was influenced by ’70s and ’80s rock, soul, funk and punk sounds of the Bay Area. True to the John McVie sound, he plays Alembic, Fender and Rick Turner basses and drives the business side of Fleetwood Mask.

Oberempt (Mick Fleetwood) was attracted to the rhythmic beat drumming style of Fleetwood and the syncopated drum patterns of his music. Having the opportunity to re-create Fleetwood Mac’s music is both an honor and a privilege.

Fleetwood Mask is endorsed by Mick Fleetwood.

Jam session to band

In December 2011 the band started after they had a friendly jam session during the Christmas holiday break from their children’s school.

“Paul Jones our bass player had heard me sing in other bands that we were in before and said that I sounded a lot like Ms. Nicks and we should do a tribute to Fleetwood Mac,” Rodriguez said.

Jones chipped in, “After those first few jam sessions in late 2011 and early 2012 we felt like we were on to something. We all had a love and respect for Fleetwood Mac and were amazed how much we liked playing the music and thought we sounded pretty good. We took about five months to pull a show together, figure out what a tribute band was and started networking with my other bands.

“Our first show was a benefit fundraiser gig at the Englander Pub in San Leandro raising money for Floresta Little League where Don was a coach. A month later we entered the Cover Band cup at the Red House studios in Walnut Creek, won their competition, met a bunch of bands and were awarded a gig at the Lafayette Art and Wine festival in October 2012. From there we started getting more and better shows and kept perfecting our tribute to Fleetwood Mac. Having Mick endorse us really helped us too — but that is another story.”

Rodriguez revealed how the band got its name.

“My ex-fiancé’s wife came up with it. At the time he was our guitar player,” Rodriguez said.

Dedicated performers

Not only do the Mask members bring down the house with their voices and music to please even the most critical and die-hard fans but they dress the part.

Rodriguez explained how her fashion designers, with painstaking care, emulate Nicks’ wardrobe.

“Many of the designers I use literally do their due diligence and analyze her concert photos and fabrics before putting it all together and duplicating some of her amazing shawls and costumes. Three out of the five shawls I use are duplicates of what she wears on stage,” Rodriguez said.

The group’s dedication to be authentic and to reflect the true essence of Fleetwood Mac has impressed Mick Fleetwood.

“Mick has been supportive of the Mask at its earliest onset. My brother Chuck Bergson lives on Maui and has become great friends with Mick. When we first started exploring the idea of this tribute to Fleetwood Mac, Chuck showed him some video we shot. He loved us instantly and wanted to know how and what he could do to help us. He was the one who suggested recording and videotaping himself so that we could use it however we wished.

“So, we have him narrating our current promo video and its Mick’s voice introducing the band before many of our shows. It is truly an unusual and amazing gift for which we are so grateful. He also invited us to come to Maui and play at his restaurant and we feel that is going to happen in the near future,” Martin said.

Fleetwood Mask has also impressed audiences across the country. The group has played primarily in Northern California and has ventured out of state and played in Albuquerque, N.M.; Midland, Texas; and Idaho. The plan is to expand to Southern California and into Oregon, Washington and eventually all states and outside of the United States. The band members are also planning to act on Mick Fleetwood’s offer to play at his restaurant, Fleetwood’s on Front Street in Maui.

Keeping it interesting

Each performance offers a new experience and the Live on the Boulevard concert will be no different.

“We like to keep things fresh and interesting,” said Blasquez. “You might think that once you’d learned all the hits from a particular band that your work would be done but that’s not true for us. We are still adding new songs, working out medleys and bringing in some of the older Fleetwood Mac songs. When we do a run of shows we make sure we’re not repeating the same set list, just in case people see us more than once. You have to keep the mystery alive.”

Blasquez added, “We walk a fine, but important line, between just being entertainers and being a living, breathing rock and roll band. Sure, you’ll see all the things and hear all the songs you’d want to see at a Fleetwood Mac show but you’re also going to see a really kick-ass band in its own right. Every member of Mask is a total pro. No weak links. This is what we do.”

“Fleetwood Mask show is highlighted by each performer having their time in the limelight … Claudette on ‘Landslide,’ Mark on ‘Never Going Back Again’ or an incredible rendition of ‘Big Love,’ Barb’s ‘Songbird,’ Paul’s bass solo in ‘The Chain,’ that always gets the crowd going, and of course, Don’s drum solo in ‘World Turning.’ That’s what makes a Fleetwood Mask show so memorable … there is always some highlight happening,” Oberempt said.

Memorable performances

“My best memories performing with the Mask are many,” Martin said. “Playing at John Ascuaga’s Nugget to a sold-out crowd of about 700. The whole experience was magical due in large part to the wonderful people who work that stage. The audience was so enthusiastic, which makes performing such a joy.

“Also playing at Yoshi’s in Oakland for all the same reasons and playing my church’s fall festival and having my fourth- through eighth-graders playing ‘Tusk’ with us on soprano recorders, it was hilarious. Every time we have local band kids play with us on ‘Tusk’ or ‘Don’t Stop!’ the audience goes crazy — and what kid couldn’t use a standing ovation?”

“I know this sounds cliché but I have amazing memories from each and every performance we have done over the years — from Bimbo’s and Slim’s in San Francisco — to thousands of fans in Meridian, Idaho to our earliest performances at many art and wine festivals. All memorable experiences with their own individual characteristics,” Oberempt said.

He said the audience at Live on the Boulevard can expect, “A high energy show which emulates Fleetwood Mac’s early hits, its mega hits from the mid-’70s and ’80s with some Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham solo hits thrown in as well.”

The performance is at the Steven Young Amphitheater, 4364 Town Center Blvd. in El Dorado Hills, with the scenic surroundings of fountains and nature along the waterway. The concert is festival-style seating and guests are invited to bring blankets and chairs to enjoy the show. No tables or roped off areas are allowed.

Ruffhaus Hot Dogs will have food at the concert or concertgoers can dine at one of the many restaurants in Town Center. As a courtesy please do not park on Town Center Boulevard or in spaces directly behind the businesses. Due to the large crowd, it is recommended that dogs and other pets remain at home.

For more information visit or

Tom Rigney and Flambeau — fiddling around on the Boulevard

By From page B1 | August 03, 2016

 Tom Rigney Live on the Boulevard B

Tom Rigney, center, and Flambeau will perform an eclectic mix of music at the El Dorado Hills Town Center’s Live on the Boulevard on Thursday, Aug. 4.

August nights are hot but Tom Rigney and Flambeau are even hotter. Watch the group’s sizzling and mesmerizing performance at the El Dorado Hills Town Center’s Live on the Boulevard on Thursday, Aug. 4 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The hottest deal is the summer concert series is free.

Rigney, violinist, composer, Cajun fiddler and leader of Flambeau, revealed his extraordinary musical beginning and how his special talents with the fiddle and violin evolved into becoming a premier blues and roots music fiddler and violinist.

Raised on the diamond

Often one’s musical career begins with the influence of a talented family member who shares a passion for singing or playing an instrument but Rigney’s family was not involved in music — he grew up in the world of baseball. His father Bill Rigney was a professional baseball player and, later on, became a Major League manager.

He played for the New York Giants from 1946-54, then managed the Giants in New York in ’56 and ’57 and came with them to San Francisco in 1958. He was the first manager of the Los Angeles Angels when the American League first expanded in 1961. In all his Major League career lasted more than 50 years and he finally won a World Series ring in 1989 while working as an advisor for the Oakland Athletics.

A different influence

Rigney first took up the violin at the age of 24 after finishing his master’s degree in fine arts at Harvard University. He didn’t have previous musical experience but was fascinated by the violin; he enjoyed listening to classical violinists and was entranced by watching them in concert.

“The single musician who has had the greatest influence on me was the great bluegrass fiddle player Vassar Clements,” Rigney reminisced. “When I was in the first few years of my professional career — and had been playing the violin for only about three years — I had the amazing good fortune to meet and to play with this incredible musician, who I consider to be the greatest fiddle player of all.”

The meeting was more than a short encounter.

“Vassar, for reasons that are still not quite clear to me (all these years later) really took me under his wing and not only offered encouragement and the thrill of playing music with him but also made it clear that he saw something in me that he felt was unique and should be encouraged and supported,” Rigney said. “We remained friends until his death and I can say that without his example and his encouragement I would never have pursued the career in music that I have had. He was a great man and a great musician.”

Proving he wasn’t too old

The age factor was always on the table.

“Everyone who knew anything about music assured me that it was way too late to start playing the violin,” he said. “But I finally bought an old $50 fiddle and started scratching away. I also began singing (and trying to play) with some friends who played guitar and mandolin — bluegrass music, old-time music, folk music, Bob Dylan, whatever took our fancy. Within a couple of years we had formed a bluegrass band and were starting to do some gigs around the Bay Area.”

Early in his playing career he played bluegrass, traditional country music and western swing. His second band Back in the Saddle won a Bammie Award in 1980 for its first record, a four-song EP featuring the local radio hit song “Time and Again” that was the first original song of Rigney’s to be recorded.

After the breakup of Back in the Saddle, he joined Queen Ida and the Bon Temps Zydeco Band and toured the world playing zydeco music during 1983-84.

“This was my introduction to South Louisiana dance music and I really got hooked on the infectious rhythms and the ferocious energy of the style,” Rigney recalled. “After leaving Ida’s band I put together a Cajun rock band — The Sundogs — and toured the world with them for 15 years. We recorded six albums and played a few thousand shows together all across the U.S., Canada and Europe.”

The beginning of Flambeau

As one band breaks up another one seems to form, incorporating new sounds.

“When The Sundogs finally hung it up in 2000, I put together the first version of Flambeau,” Rigney explained. “I was writing a lot of music — songs and instrumental pieces — and wanted a band that could play a wide range of roots music styles such as Cajun, zydeco, blues, roots, rock and roll, ballads, waltzes — whatever I was writing. The musicians I chose were great players that I had met over the years with The Sundogs and had wanted to work with. At this point the band personnel has been unchanged for about 10 years with Danny Caron on guitar (he has worked with me for 15 years), Caroline Dahl on piano, Steve Parks on bass and vocals and Brent Rampone on drums.”

Over the years he has been influenced by all the music he listened to and loved and with Flambeau made his dream to play that music a reality.

“I grew up listening to rock and roll like most kids of the ’50s and ’60s,” Rigney said. “When I started playing the fiddle I began hearing American roots music styles for the first time … I also found a love for Irish and Scottish folk styles and those elements also have worked their way into the music I write. My own songs and instrumental pieces combine elements of a very wide range of musical styles and I have the good fortune to work with musicians who can play virtually any style of music. So our live show is very eclectic, from Cajun two-steps to blues to boogie woogie to rock and roll to beautiful arias, ballads and waltzes.”

Rigney described Cajun and zydeco music.

“Cajun music is dance music that originated in South Louisiana played by the French-speaking Acadian people who migrated there from Canada. The traditional Cajun music features fiddle and accordion which tends to be acoustic and combines two-steps and waltzes,” he said. “Zydeco music emerged from the black or Creole communities in Louisiana and blues with the French traditional music of the bayou. Zydeco music is rhythmically powerful and propulsive and is more electric, driven by accordion, guitar, drums and the rub board.”

New project

Rigney’s latest project is a CD he is excited about and so are others.

“I recently released a twin fiddle CD with the great Cajun fiddler Michael Doucet. Michael has been the leader of the band BeauSoleil for more than 40 years and has won two Grammies and many other awards,” Rigney said. “He and I are old friends and had been talking about making a record together for years. We finally did it and the CD ‘Cajun Fandango’ was released in March. It has been getting a lot of radio play and rave reviews around the country.”

He said they will be playing a lot of music from the new album at the Live on the Boulevard concert.

Rigney is also excited about the recent performance for PBS as part of its “Music Gone Public” series. The group was one of 10 acts chosen by PBS for this new music series and the concert has been shown on approximately 100 PBS affiliates around the country over the past several months.

“I have a number of projects in mind for the future,” Rigney said. “I am still writing a lot of new music and will be recording as much of it as possible. I have a new Flambeau CD in the works of all new material, mostly original. We will go in the studio in the fall and hope to release the new CD next spring. I am also working on a couple of other projects that will be a real departure — and challenge — for me and that will unfold, I hope, in the next year, too.”


As Rigney is enjoying his exciting and amazing career that continues to evolve he serves as an inspiration to others.

“To any young musician I would offer nothing but encouragement. If my story says anything, it says that it is never too late to start doing something you love,” Rigney said. “Playing music requires dedication, hard work and persistence, of course, but what it mainly requires is a love of playing, a love of making music. If you have that, the rest will fall in place whether it becomes your profession or not. Given my family background people often ask me how I ended up in music; why didn’t I follow my famous father into baseball? But my father’s example was never ‘Son, you should do what I do.’ It was always clear to me that my dad loved his job, he loved everything about the game of baseball. The message was clear — find something you love to do and then don’t let anything stop you from doing it. I believe that is what I have done with my life and my career and I think I will just keep on doing it.”


Rigney predicted his performance will be unpredictable.

“An audience at a Flambeau show can always expect to be surprised,” he said. “The band is tight, we all enjoy working together; this is something that comes across pretty clearly at all our shows. There is a real love of playing and interacting that tends to be communicated throughout the show. Since we never work from a set list, even the band doesn’t know what is going to happen next. I make it up as the show unfolds.”

Rigney concluded, “I have always enjoyed performing and playing music in front of an audience. It is a thrill and a challenge to try to communicate your own feelings about the music you play and to get a reaction from others. I have been performing for more than 40 years and it has never lost its appeal to me. Our show takes people through a wide range of emotional and physical responses — the rhythms are infectious and uplifting, the band plays with fire and conviction and some of the music is quite passionate and emotional. We hope to take the crowd with us through all these expressive aspects of our show.”

The simmering performance takes place at the Steven Young Amphitheatre, 4364 Town Center Blvd. in El Dorado Hills. The concert is festival-style seating and guests are invited to bring blankets and chairs to enjoy the show. No tables or roped off areas are allowed.

Ruffhaus Hot Dogs will have food at the concerts or concertgoers can dine at one of the many restaurants in Town Center. As a courtesy, please do not park on Town Center Boulevard or in spaces directly behind the businesses. Due to the large crowd, it is recommended that dogs and other pets remain at home.

For more information visit or

Coming soon to El Dorado Hills: puzzles, board games and food

Sacramento Business Journal Jul 26,2016
By Sonya Sorich

A business that combines the escape room trend with board games is the latest step in a local retail center’s focus on experience-oriented offerings.

The Game Room Adventure Cafe is expected to open in the El Dorado Hills Town Center in August. It will fill 1,430 square feet in a ground-floor space below a former Chili’s Grill & Bar. Super Suppers previously occupied the space.

It will be a franchise location for The Game Room Adventure Cafe, a locally owned business that debuted in Elk Grove last year. The business has a variety of components, including team-building rooms in which guests must solve puzzles within 60 minutes to successfully “escape.” The concept is gaining momentum in the Sacramento region and beyond.

The Game Room Adventure Cafe has two additional elements: games and food. The existing Elk Grove location has a wide variety of board games that customers can play. There’s also a cafe that serves food, craft sodas, milkshakes and more. The new site will be designed for “hours of board game activities,” according to a statement from the center.

As traditional retailers close brick-and-mortar stores and focus on the internet, shopping centers are turning to service providers, including experience-oriented restaurants, to fill the gaps and drive traffic.

The El Dorado Hills Town Center added a cryotherapy business, earlier this year. A blow-dry bar, which will offer hair-styling and makeup services, is alsoplanned at the center.

Sonya Sorich is social engagement manager and a staff writer at the Sacramento Business Journal. She oversees social media activity and writes about retailing, small business and restaurants.

SuperHuey — Not your normal tribute band

By  | July 24, 2016 Village Life

Huey Lewis-approved tribute band SuperHuey brings the near-real-deal talent to Town Center.

A special evening for real Huey Lewis fans is happening when SuperHuey — The Ultimate Huey Lewis Experience performs at the El Dorado Hills Town Center’s Live on the Boulevard Thursday, July 28, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The summer concert series is free.

Huey Lewis and the News has carried the banner as the quintessential American rock band. They had a run of hit singles during the 1980s to the early 1990s, scoring a total of 19 top 10 singles across the Billboard Hot 100, Adult Contemporary and Mainstream Rock charts. Its song “Power of Love” was played in the No. 1 movie in 1985, “Back to the Future.”

SuperHuey — The Ultimate Huey Lewis Experience is personally approved of by Huey Lewis.

Featuring a lead singer whose voice is indistinguishable from the real Huey Lewis, this seven-piece explosion of ’80s rock power performs with super high-energy, faithful renditions of feel-good music that defined a generation and today brings back memories to millions of endearing fans.

This high-octane tribute show boasts some of the top players in the business. Each member is a solid stand out performer, passionate about Huey’s rootsy American rock.

Blessing needed

Ron Merlino (aka Screwy Huey) talked about how the band started and however much the band members wanted to continue — their beginning was conditional. They wouldn’t do the tribute band unless they had Huey Lewis’s personal approval to proceed.

“SuperHuey started in 2011 and is based out of Sacramento. I’ve been a professional musician for most of my life. Before we started SuperHuey, I had a band called Mother Mayhem. We played all over California and Nevada for more than 10 years. Almost every time I walked off the stage after a show, someone would come up to me and say, ‘Man, you sound just like Huey Lewis.’ We all grew up listening to Huey Lewis and the News and we loved their music. So we talked with our management at HIP Entertainment about the idea of doing a straight Huey Lewis tribute. They liked the idea and once we decided to do it, we just made the calls to the players we knew who had the chops. The music is actually pretty tough to replicate. I would say that it is complicated in its simplicity. The genius in the band’s music is in the spaces between the notes and in the lyrics,” Merlino said.

The group anxiously waited to hear back from Lewis and his band and when the answer came back positive, “We were fired up,” Merlino said.

Popular with fans

The group has taken its project to the stage and entertained and impressed audiences of all ages in the Western United States at fairs, festivals, arenas, sporting events, showrooms and performed at the California State Fair last week. Last year SuperHuey was the Season 5 finaliast for AXS TVs “World’s Greatest Tribute Bands” with Katie Daryl.

Chris Barabino, owner of Swabbies on the River in Sacramento where the group played earlier this month, boasted, “SuperHuey has been playing Swabbies on the River for the last few years. The band is not your normal tribute … they dress and sound the part, the general public could easily be convinced they were at the real show and not know the better. SuperHuey attracts a very eclectic crowd; many families of multiple generations enjoy the music. It’s a great fit for even teenage kids … and hey … who doesn’t still love the ‘Back to Future’ movies?”

The technical side of music production and the chemistry may have something to do with the band’s success.

“SuperHuey sports its own sound engineer that has done an excellent job of dialing in the band to the best of its abilities and makes professional quality sound. Lead singer Roy Merlino and wife Tina have an infectious chemistry that the crowd can sense and share,” Barbino continued. “Crowds absolutely love the show. Dancing is great or some just kick back and sing along to the endless set of hits … a great night out for the family for sure … skip the movies … and enjoy an awesome live performance. Swabbies’ house was packed and we are sure the band will sellout most any venue with patrons marking their calendars in anticipation for the next year.”

“In 2011 at the Sonoma County Fair,” Merlino reminisced, “We were invited to go back stage for a Huey Lewis and the News Show. There we got to meet all the guys who had been our childhood rock-god heroes. Huey asked us about the project and we got to take some pictures with him. Everyone was so humble and classy. Then, during a show we were doing at Silo’s in Napa, band member Johnny Colla jumped up on stage and sang a number with us. Later the next year both Johnny Colla and Bill Gibson from Huey Lewis and the News showed up to a gig at New Georges in San Rafael. We got to play with both of them.”

Overcoming dyslexia

The passion to play music ran in Merlino’s family and he really wanted to play but experienced difficulties in learning.

“My dad was a great trumpet player,” he said. “He started me on the trumpet when I was 5 years old. I had a tough time learning to read the music. This was one of the things that led my folks to have me tested. I was diagnosed with dyslexia. Since it was caught so early, I received special therapy that basically retrained my brain. The dyslexia basically was fixed by the time I was 7 years old.”

Day jobs

Rocking as SuperHuey is a part of Merlino’s life but not his whole life. His wife Tina also performs with him and the other band members all juggle their professional day jobs with their passion to perform on stage.

“I am a Realtor at Keller Williams Realty Sacramento,” Merlino said. “Tina and I met in the music scene about eight years ago. As far as juggling, we keep it all in perspective and our clients seem to like the fact that we have a little fun outside of the real estate business. We love real estate and we are really good at it. It’s a passion of ours. Music is also a passion. But it’s really just a hobby.” Merlino said.

The hobby can also be therapeutic.

“It’s a way for me to blow off steam. I think engaging in art of any kind is a great way to relieve stress and calm the mind. Some people pay thousands of dollars per month to do the same thing playing golf. We get paid to do our hobby. Plus, I don’t have the mentality or the skills for golf …  me on the golf course is not a pretty sight. Huey is no slouch on the course, though,” Merlino said.

The other band members have day jobs, too. Eric Dahm — keyboardist, saxophonist and backing vocals  is an entrepreneur and business owner. Paul Fletcher — bassist and backing vocals is in construction. Guy Kowarsh — producer, stage manager, drums and backing vocals is a professional producer, audio engineer, professional photographer and videographer. Chris McCandless — lead guitar and backing vocals is an attorney. Javier Ramirez  — solo sax is a musician.

Forward to the future

Merlino looks forward to his future with the band and confessed, “We love the fly-dates and the theater shows. What I’m looking forward to the most is this — one of these days Huey is going to show up to a gig. That would be amazing.”

The group is also looking forward to playing at Town Center in El Dorado Hills.

“We love the Thursday night Live on the Boulevard. We have played it for three years in a row, with a year off in 2015. The best thing about that show is the people. There are some major Huey Lewis and the News fans in that crowd,” Merlino said.

“Watching from the stage as the music takes people back, you can see it on their faces and it’s amazing. Watching 20-something kids who didn’t grow up with this music get into the shows … that’s how you know this is timeless, classic stuff. Really, we just want to thank everyone for all of their support through the years.”


This rockin’, feel-good party takes place at the Steven Young Amphitheatre, 4364 Town Center Blvd. in El Dorado Hills, with the scenic surroundings of the waterway as the backdrop. The concert is festival-style seating and guests are invited to bring blankets and chairs to enjoy the show. No tables or roped off areas are allowed.

Ruffhaus Hot Dogs will have food at the concerts or concertgoers can dine at one of the many fine restaurants in Town Center. As a courtesy, please do not park on Town Center Boulevard or in spaces directly behind the businesses. Due to the large crowd, it is recommended that dogs and other pets remain at home.

For more information visit or

Blues knows no age limit

By  | July 20, 2016 Mountain Democrat
 “Now that he’s with us, we know our time with him is short, since he has dreams of playing football at the next level. He’s the defensive captain at Sac City, so he’s obviously a serious athlete. He’s an equally powerful drummer with loads of personality, really gifted with a musical ear and an understanding of dynamics and groove. As an athlete, he understands the kind of discipline needed to get better and he’s equally devoted to the process of learning and growing as a musician. We expect to see him do great things,” Augustine said.Talking about Hogan, Augustine continued.“Stephan is a remarkable talent. He grew up in Cameron Park and he plays a furious guitar. He’s a songwriter with his own band and has turned heads with his mature guitar playing. He has a country-style like Brad Paisley, but can wail and weave like John Mayer. We love having him in Gumboot, because he really locks in a blues feel and summons the right tones that go perfectly with our tunes,” Augustine said.“He was recently chosen as one of five finalists in the entire U.S. for Guitar Center’s ‘Onstage with Vince Gill’ competition. Stephan is definitely going places and we hope his playing with Gumboot provides another appropriate showcase for his exceptional talent,” Augustine said.Hogan’s exceptional audition performance can be seen at of GumbootAugustine lives in El Dorado Hills. He’s influenced by Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Bill Withers and Paul Rodgers. His father Bill Augustine is a jazz pianist and educator in Los Angeles. Augustine studied music at University of California, Los Angeles and plays with the worship band at Rolling Hills Christian Church.Gaesser, saxophonist, lives in El Dorado Hills. He teaches music at Folsom High School, leading its nationally renowned program for 31 years. He studied music at California State University, Sacramento and is an accomplished and respected player. The Folsom High School music program has won hundreds of national awards under his mentoring, making his musical legacy a point of hometown pride for the entire Sacramento region.Thompson, guitarist, lives in Cameron Park. Ever since Thompson heard the Allman Brothers Band as a kid, he’s been waiting for a band like Gumboot. He works with Clarity AVL, a system integration company serving churches and schools, as an audio/video/lighting systems designer. Thompson plays electric and slide guitar.Shearer, keyboardist, resides in Fair Oaks. Shearer is a jazz pianist, sound engineer and music educator. He teaches at American River College and Sacramento City College in recording arts and technology. He has played keys and recorded with multiple renowned artists and has been known in the Sacramento music scene for 30-plus years.Saastad, bassist of Rancho Cordova, fell in love with playing bass in the seventh grade. He met Gaesser at Ponderosa High School where they started playing jazz and rock together. He’s played locally for more than 30 years and is thrilled to anchor the groove for Gumboot.Advice for aspiring musiciansAugustine said they are excited about De’Andre and Stephan’s future and about helping them to grow. He confides how they work with them and what he advises for those who want to make it as a musician and the combination for a successful band.“The main way we guide these younger guys is by encouraging them to play as often as possible. There’s a book called “The Music Lesson” by one of my favorite musicians, Victor Wooten. He makes the case that music is a language that should be learned in the same way we learn to speak: by simply doing it as much as possible with people who already know how.”Age does not always know everything.“It’s not to say that the older guys in the band have already mastered everything. We’re all learning, always, if we keep our ears open. Still, just like learning a language, you grow in your ability by spending countless hours simply doing it around folks who’ve been doing it for years. The lessons then flow naturally. We stop in the middle of a song and point out that we’re rushing the third beat of a measure every time, or we break down what each person is playing and find out where the groove isn’t locked and tight. These moments create the ‘education’ that can only be learned by doing,” Augustine said.He points out that a lot of the emphasis when they practice is in the groove.“Very little time is spent with correcting wrong notes. These guys are so good, it liberates us into focusing on what’s really important, which is the groove and feel of the tunes.“Curtis and I were talking today about how good this group of guys is together. The chemistry is just right on. Everyone listens to each other, there’s equal input and the feedback is welcomed all around. It’s a great picture of mutual respect and a common love for something. It’s fun to witness this kind of musical democracy.”

Best time

Augustine reminisced, “We were playing at Powerhouse Pub in Folsom in June, and our guitarist Mark Thompson launched into this solo where he just played out of his mind. It was one of those moments when the tune was perfect for him, the band really locked in and Mark just kind of floated through the music like he was breathing it out of his fingers. Curtis and I looked at each other with a huge grin. It was like we went back in our minds to our early conversations about starting this kind of band and recognized that idea came to perfect fruition inside that musical point in time.”

What’s ahead

Although the band will be really busy at the end of this summer and the beginning of fall, it’s likely the group will not play again around town until early 2017.

Hogan, as one of the finalists to open for Vince Gill at one of Gill’s U.S. Tour performances, will be competing again soon for the coveted spot in Los Angeles.

In the future, Gumboot hopes to play in a couple of the larger blues festivals in Northern California, otherwise they’re content with playing mostly local.

“We’re really limited with our schedules, so we’re choosy about wanting to play where and when our friends could come see us. The great thing about our area is there are tons of people with really good taste, lots of soulful ears who love this kind of music. It makes it real fun to play, and of course, we love it when hundreds of our closest friends come out to hang with us,” Augustine said.

The performance

A fun, crowd-engaging set of music with a lot of punch will be performed at Live on the Boulevard.

“We’re drawn together by our respect for one another as musicians and our love for this kind of music. Our only aspiration is to have a good time doing what we love with people we really like. It’s kind of a feel-good story when you consider that most of the members are from here and have been on the scene for decades. Add the fact that two of the young guys are on their way up and it makes it a really compelling group. Anyone who is a fan of seeing incredible players really stretching their skills will love Gumboot. People who come to hear us can feel proud of this region and can have a really good time with us to boot,” Augustine said.


Enjoy an evening of rockin’ blues with Gumboot at the Steven Young Amphitheater, 4364 Town Center Blvd. in El Dorado Hills, with the scenic surrounding in El Dorado Hills Town Center. The concert is festival-style seating and guests are invited to bring blankets and chairs to enjoy the show. No tables or roped off areas are allowed.

Ruffhaus Hot Dogs will have food at the concerts or concertgoers can dine at one of the many fine restaurants in Town Center. As a courtesy, please do not park on Town Center Boulevard or spaces directly behind the businesses. Due to the large crowd, it is recommended that dogs and other pets remain at home.

For more information visit You can also visit Gumboot’s website at

Party like it’s the Fourth of July

Village Life | July 01, 2016

The highly anticipated fireworks show in El Dorado Hills is back. On Sunday, July 3 from 7-11 p.m., ring in Independence Day and have a blast as El Dorado Hills Town Center presents its annual Fireworks and Freedom Concert.

Entertain the kids in the Kids Zone with bounce houses, face painting, balloon artists and a DJ playing games and giving away prizes beginning at 7 p.m.

Purchase a Kids Zone wristband for unlimited access from 7-9:30 p.m., with proceeds benefitting Hands4Hope. Kids Zone wristbands will be available for pre-sale at the California Welcome Center, 2085 Vine St. in El Dorado Hills.

Live music by Apple Z in the Steven Young Amphitheater begins at 8 p.m. and will keep the party going through the night. Apple Z is a dance party and rock show all mixed into one. The band is known for world-class musicianship, rock concert showmanship and packing the dance floor with crowd-pleasing classics from ’60s rock through the ’80s, ’90s and the best of today’s Top 40 dance hits.

There will be food vendors and food trucks lined up along Town Center Boulevard serving tasty eats. Beer and wine will be available for purchase courtesy of the El Dorado County Food Bank. Don’t miss the silent auction for a Sacramento Kings signed basketball with all proceeds going to the El Dorado County Food Bank.

The evening will conclude with a spectacular fireworks display choreographed to music designed by Pyro Spectaculars, a Southern California-based company that specializes in producing pyrotechnic shows.

Notably famous in the world of fireworks show production and billed as the largest such company on the West Coast, Pyro Spectaculars has provided firework entertainment during the 50th birthdays of the Golden Gate and Oakland Bay bridges, the 1994 Pink Floyd concert tour and has also lit up Olympics performances along with several Super Bowls.

Parking will be available at Blue Shield, located at 4203 Town Center Blvd. and Rolling Hills Christian Church, located at 800 White Rock Road.

This event is brought to the community by El Dorado Hills Town Center, a development by the Mansour Company and Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Mercedes-Benz of El Dorado Hills, California Welcome Center, Marshall Medical Center, Mercy Hospital of Folsom and Mercy Medical Group.

Public set up time begins at 5 p.m. No tables, roping off or personal barbecues are allowed. Road closures and a special event exit plan will be utilized.

For further details or more information visit


El Dorado Hills July 3rd Preview
FOX 40 – July 1,2016

Rina is in El Dorado Hills Town Center getting a preview of the Fireworks and Freedom Concert. The real event is July 3rd from 7-11pm with Fireworks at 9:30pm.

To watch the video, click here and watch the last 2 videos on the page featuring Town Center.

Rubio’s Facelift

JUNE 15, 2016


Bistro 33 Summer Party is a hot time

Village Life- June 16, 2016
By:Sherri Bergmann

The Cheeseballs

The Cheeseballs

To crank up the action and provide good summer nights and memories, Bistro 33 in the El Dorado Hills Town Center, El Dorado Hills, is hosting its Summer Dance Party series throughout the summer in the Steven Young Amphitheater.

In the lineup are Pop Fiction, Wonder Bread 5, The Cheeseballs and Hip Service — all who have a successful history of entertaining their audiences with amazing music and vocals that keep the beat and the dance floor moving late into the night.

Saturday, June 18, Pop Fiction from 8-11 p.m.

Pop Fiction’s music features the most popular dance hits covering more than six decades, playing favorites from the ’70s disco hits, ’80s hits, as well as some of the best alternative, techno, hip hop and club hits from the ’90s to today. The group has been entertaining the Bay Area and Northern California audiences for many years at festivals, private events, concerts in the park, parties and weddings and more. They play regularly in Sacramento, Folsom and El Dorado Hills.

Dan Meblin of the group said, “I wear many hats — I’m the manager, vocalist and guitar player and whatever is needed. In El Dorado Hills, we have played for Bistro 33 several times and have also played at the El Dorado Hills Concerts in the Park where there’s always lots of people. We’re a fun, high energy dance band and do a lot of jumping around. We can even sing in Spanish. We have 11 players in the band who play bass, guitar, drums, keyboard, percussion, trumpet, the trombone and saxophone and three vocalists.

“We’re very excited about playing for Bistro 33 again, we love playing there, it’s one of our favorite places to play with the night life and seeing people dress up; they look good and are dressed to be seen and having fun. Bistro 33 has the best food ever and their donuts are — oh, so good — I get a bag.”

He said the audience can expect a fantastic party and really good time.

For more information about the band visit

Saturday, July 16, Wonder Bread 5 from 8-11 p.m.

Tommy Rickard, who plays the drums and is one of the vocalists, describes Wonder Bread 5 as “Party rock — It’s all about everyone having a good time. We do whatever we can to put a smile on the crowd’s face and on each others.”

“We love making each other laugh. We constantly try changing things up on the fly. Mike, our guitarist, will go into something completely unexpected. We all try jumping on board with where he’s going or we see if we can take it even further away from where it started,” Rickard said.

The band was originally a Jackson 5/Michael Jackson tribute band.

The group has performed for Bistro 33 many times before.

“We absolutely love playing this event,” Rickard said. “There’s great energy from the crowd. Everyone definitely has a great time.”

The group has performed all over California.

“We’ve also played Puerto Rico, Bermuda, Cabo, San Antonio, Charlotte, New York, Las Vegas and Sun Valley to name a few. We’ll play anywhere. We just love playing and entertaining,” Rickard said.

Band members are: Jeffrey Fletcher, vocals; Chris Adams, keyboards and vocals; Michael Taylor, guitar and vocals; John McDill, bass and vocals; and Rickard, drums and vocals.

For more information about the band visit

Saturday, Aug. 20, The Cheeseballs from 8-11 p.m.

They’re ready to rock and impress the audience at the Bistro 33 Summer Dance Party Series. According to Eric Cotton, vocalist of the band and known as the Big Cheese, aka Funky Lim, aka Charles Limburger, the group is no stranger to performing at the summer dance party.

“This will be the fourth or fifth time we have done this,” Cotton said. “The event is always great. People come out, looking good, ready to dance and to have some cocktails. The music we play is music that you grew up with and danced to. No matter if it comes from the ’70s or today, if you can move to it we want to play it. There are so many great songs that are fun to play and that people love to dance to. It gives the band a lot of energy to want to entertain. I think we are all just kids inside and that’s why we do this.”

The band has a talent to play any style and pulls it off — from rock, rap, disco, funk, jazz, blues.

“There are some good bands out there so we have to keep our set list current and are always looking for songs to expand the set list. We want to work harder than anyone to keep our show fresh. I love when the crowd is feeling what we are feeling on stage. We have some great players in the band. They lay it down tight every night and we feel it. When the crowd starts to feel it, it creates an energy that you can only describe if your there listening. We have some great fans that love to have a good time, ”said Cotton.

The Cheeseballs have been around awhile, with each year growing more successful than the last. The group has played all over the country and Costa Rica, Mexico and Canada.

Band members are: Cotton, vocals; Elizebeth Cadd, aka Queen Cheese, vocals; Sadie Brown, aka Velveta Brown, vocals; Bryant Mills, aka Kick the Flava, drums; Micheal Rogers, aka Eddie Munster, bass; Mike Leathermen, aka Gudakrist, keys/vox; and Ryan Kihn, aka Da Whiz, guitar.

For more information about the band visit

Saturday, Sept. 17, Hip Service from 8-11 p.m.

Steve Bloom, manager and guitarist of Hip Service, is looking forward to the band performing for the Bistro 33 concert series again.

“Hip Service has performed at the Bistro 33 concerts since its grand opening,” Bloom said. “It’s really become a tradition for the band, with Hip Service closing out the series each summer in September. It’s one of our favorite summer shows.”

Hip Service plays dance favorites ranging from Motown through the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and today’s hits. It has been around since 1996.

“We are celebrating our 20th year this year,” Bloom said. “The band started as an eight-piece soul/funk band really playing more B-side covers and then we realized after a year that maybe we should play some music that people recognize. Since that time, the project has evolved into a cast and crew of about 20 people, averaging about 75 shows per year.”

Nationally recognized, the band is called upon for celebrity celebrations, private and corporate events, fundraising galas, weddings, public concerts and venues. The band has shared the stage with names like Tower of Power, Huey Lewis and the News, Jay Leno, Coolio, Vanessa Williams and many others.

“At the Bistro 33 show we will have five singers, four horns, drums, guitar, bass, keyboards, special guest artist Juan Escovedo on percussion, plus four choreographed HIP dancers. Wow,” Bloom said.

Escovedo tours, writes and records both as a solo artist and with his family “The E-Family” that is quickly rising up the charts.

“It will be a summer dance party to remember,” said Bloom.

For more information about the band visit

Not many things can beat watching talented musicians entertain on the scenic waterfront and dancing the night away, making for special summer memories.

Tickets are $10 pre-sale, $15 on the day of the event and available at Bistro 33 in the El Dorado Town Center.

For more information visit

Boogie on the boulevard: Concert series keys up Town Center

Village Life
By Sherri Bergmann June 15, 2016

Free Live on the Boulevard performances take place at the Steven Young Amphitheatre, 4364 Town Center Blvd. in El Dorado Hills beginning June 16. Courtesy photo

Free Live on the Boulevard performances take place at the Steven Young Amphitheatre, 4364 Town Center Blvd. in El Dorado Hills beginning June 16. Courtesy photo

Enjoy free evening concerts and dance into the night as this year’s season of Live on the Boulevard at the Stephen Young Amphitheater in El Dorado Hills Town Center begins tomorrow.

Surrounded by the waterway, fountains and stunning architecture, the stage has a spectacular setting and attendees can indulge in tasty fare and refreshments from a vendor or the many restaurants lining the boulevard and the waterfront.

The region’s best cover bands will rock Town Center every Thursday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. with a finale concert on Sept. 8 with Folsom Lake Symphony. The symphony’s concert, Dancing’ in the Streets, will include songs that inspire the audience to do just that: boogie on the boulevard.

Concerts have festival-style seating that allows for blankets and chairs but no tables or roped off areas. Concert viewing set-up begins at 5 p.m.

The Steven Young Amphitheater is located at 4364 Town Center Boulevard in El Dorado Hills. Parking is not permitted on Town Center Boulevard or directly behind the businesses. Due to the large crowd it is recommended that dogs and other pets remain at home. For more information visit or call (916) 933-3013.

2016 lineup

June 16: Peace Frog (The Doors tribute)

June 23: Mania (live Beatles experience)

June 30: Kenny Metcalf (Elton John tribute)

July 7: Todd Morgan and the Emblems (pop/rock/blues)

July 14:  Tennessee River (tribute to Alabama)

July 21: Gumboot (blues)

July 28: Super Huey (the ultimate Huey Lewis experience)

Aug. 4:  Tom Rigney and Flambeau (Cajun and zydeco)

Aug. 11: Fleetwood Mask (Fleetwood Mac tribute)

Aug. 18: Joy and Madness (soul and funk)

Aug. 25: Forejour (tribute to Foreigner and Journey)

Sept. 1: Petty Theft (San Francisco tribute to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)

Sept. 8: Folsom Lake Symphony

Milestone hits the comfort-food mark in El Dorado Hills

June 3, 2016 By: Carla Meyer Sacramento Bee

Big and airy yet homey, spot delivers hearty, well-crafted food for moderate prices Restaurant’s proprietors also own nearby Aji Japanese Bistro Kitchen’s affinity for the fried shows in its buttermilk chicken, fish and chips Buttermilk fried chicken consists of breast, leg and thigh pieces, plus potato salad.

El Dorado Hills’ reputation as a monied enclave and fanciness bastion takes another hit with Milestone, a comfort-food spot offering hearty portions and considerable craft at modest prices.

Milestone opened six months ago, joining Town Center neighbors Bistro 33 and Selland’s Market-Café

as elegant yet casual spots where one can grab well-made, moderately priced food and enjoy views, from lovely patios, of Town Center’s man-made lake and the neon lights announcing the Regal Cinema 14 up the hill.Milestone replaced the higher-end Café Campanile, which rebranded itself as Café C and reopened in a smaller place closer to the theater. Town Center’s collection of mid-range dining options actually aligns with the luxury SUVs parked along its main drag, according to Milestone co-owner Nick Dedier. “The people who eat out up here, they eat out every day,” said Dedier, who also co-owns Aji Japanese Bistro, a more upscale yet still affordable 2 1/2 -year-old restaurant just around the way from Milestone. Since Milestone opened, its “simple, approachable, good” food has drawn those frequent diners, Dedier said, including families who swing by after soccer practice. On our visits – two for dinner, one for a late lunch – the rustic-themed restaurant that seats nearly 100 indoors and 30 outside was at least half full, with the crowd ranging from families to young couples to groups of women in their 30s to the occasional older guy bellied up to the bar. Dedier, an Elk Grove son with significant high-end restaurant management experience, including stints at Gary Danko in San Francisco and Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Yountville, resists the terms “comfort food” and “ranch dressing.” He designates the prevailing cuisine at Milestone, which holds the braised and the fried in high esteem, as “Americana.” He calls his restaurant’s delicious house-made salad dressing “buttermilk vinaigrette.” Fat by any other name is just as comforting, and Aji/Milestone co-owner and executive chef Russell Okubo and Milestone chef de cuisine Jaydel Reyes hit that spot while also finessing it. Milestone’s braised, fried and buttermilk’d dishes generally taste a bit better than they need to, given their price level. The haddock in Milestone’s fish and chips moves from deep fryer to plate with its flesh still buttery and its outside crisped by a light panko breading. For 6 to 8 ounces of fish, a pile of subtly beer-battered fries (frozen, but so what, when they’re crispy/creamy?) and tangy, delightfully dill-heavy tartar sauce, one pays $14.50. And that feeling this salty-vinegary dish inspires, of being on a coastal boardwalk rather than a foothills patio overlooking a man-made lake? That’s free. Sitting on the Milestone patio on a breezy evening last month, our thoughts turned to the coming summer and perhaps experimenting with a lighter dish to counteract all that Americana. The “green goddess” salad ($10.50) we ordered turned out to be the best of both worlds. It holds butter lettuce, sunflower seeds, watermelon radish, kohlrabi and a dressing that does a highly herbaceous but not entirely convincing impression of green goddess. Beneath all its fresh parsley and chive lay our beloved “buttermilk vinaigrette.” Braising factored strongly in the ricotta gnocchi ($15.50), whose pre-prepared greens – Swiss chard and dinosaur kale – added depth and spikes of salt to a creamy mix that included earthy-tasting and slightly chewy trumpet, beach and oyster mushrooms. The gnocchi was a bit too dense but enjoyable in the context of the cream, greens and mushrooms.

We ate the gnocchi outside, though the hefty dish is likely better suited to Milestone’s interior, which is open and airy yet also solid in feel, thanks to its many wood touches, from chairs to wall and ceiling accents. Dedier calls the design, which includes the now-ubiquitous Edison lights, “Napa country porch.” I only see Gold Country. But I’ve seen Gold Country in every establishment on Highway 50 east of Folsom since studying the Gold Rush in fourth grade. The proximity of “milestone” to “historical marker” does little to discourage such conclusions. Plus, Gold Country is more rugged than tweezer-food Napa, and therefore more appropriate to a place that serves a $14 buttermilk fried chicken plate of breast, leg, thigh and a side of potato salad. But then bits of Napa nuance sneak in anyway, in the way Milestone’s kitchen dunks instead of soaks the bird in buttermilk, avoiding an acidic, drying effect and producing meat as juicy as the skin is crisp. The sweet-hot chili dipping sauce we tried and liked when we had the chicken has been phased out in favor of Fresno pepper Sriracha, Dedier said. But it still covers Milestone’s tasty, perfectly cooked chicken wings, served in a stack of eight drumettes, with buttermilk vinaigrette, for $11.50. Two items at Milestone went beyond exceptional comfort food to exceptional, period. The flourless “farmer’s veggie pie” ($12.50) comes covered with a thick crust of smoked gouda and aged cheddar that insulates a filling of eggplant, zucchini, summer squash and San Marzano tomatoes, the flavors alternating among bright, sharp and soothing.The avocado and smoked-salmon toast underwhelms in name. Because that name has “toast” in it. But it’s a hearty, intensely flavored steal at $9.50. A French onion spread softens and flavors Grateful Bread sourdough toast before the salmon, a crème fraîche-tanged avocado spread, oven-dried tomato and pickled red onion are added. Smoke, fat, salt and acidity play into every bite. There were a couple of busts at Milestone, including a Boston cream pie that tasted of refrigerator, and the steak Diane, which came with two dry filet medallions under a sauce that tasted as if a packet was involved. That this $25 dish was both the most lackluster and costliest we ordered poked a hole in our high-value thesis.

But only momentarily, before stellar service compensated. Dedier’s fiancée and second partner in Milestone, Alexa Hazelton, also brings a strong hospitality background to the restaurant. The couple’s influence shows in a service staff that skews rather young yet shows ample polish. Our servers were quick to freshen plates and flatware, refill water glasses and otherwise check in. On one visit, the service staff overdid it, coming by our table a few too many times to see if everything was all right. But that might have been placement – we were seated on the path between kitchen and patio. But it would be churlish to judge overly enthusiastic service too harshly. It’s a much better issue to encounter than its opposite number: being ignored.

El Dorado Hills Town Center snags telecom company as new office tenant

Jun 2, 2016 By: Mark Anderson Sacramento Business Journal

Local telecommunications company O1 Communications is moving its headquarters to El Dorado Hills Town Center.

The new, nearly 3,000-square-foot office is on an upper floor of the mixed-use building on Town Center Boulevard, the main street of the development.

The company is moving its headquarters from one of the business parks in El Dorado Hills off Latrobe Road.

Founded in 1998, O1 is a wholesale network telecommunications carrier, and it also is a retail business telephone provider, which it does through cloud-based services.

O1 will now provide free public Wi-Fi throughout the Town Center, and its phone and high-speed internet service is available as an option to any business in the center.

“It is a great addition. They have terrific service, and they are local,” said Kevin Nagle, co-owner of the Mansour/Nagle partnership, which owns Town Center.

Like Nagle, Brad Jenkins, co-founder of O1, is a member of the ownership of both the Sacramento Kings and the Sacramento Republic.

Nagle, a former health care executive, has branched out into real estate, sports, movie production, venture capital investing and private equity investing.

New beauty business will debut in El Dorado Hills

Sacramento Business Journal

Shortly after a business with a similar concept shut its doors, a new blow-dry bar has announced plans to enter the region.

Elizabeth Doutherd has selected the El Dorado Hills Town Center as the debut location for her business, Blow Me Away, which will offer hair-styling and makeup services. The 1,345-square-foot shop is expected to open in August near Tan Central.

Customers at blow-dry bars and get their hair washed and styled, but haircuts aren’t offered.

Doutherd grew up in Citrus Heights before moving to the Bay Area, where she’s worked as a property manager. Doutherd will return to the region to operate Blow Me Away, which she hopes will eventually have multiple locations.

Hair blowouts will cost $35 at Blow Me Away, while makeup application will cost $30. Doutherd plans to include an area for group parties.

As online shopping changes the way traditional brick-and-mortar retailers operate, service-oriented businesses such as blow-dry bars are filling more vacancies in local centers — with mixed results.

A separate business, Cherry Blow Dry Bar, permanently closed its Folsom location on Saturday. The store in Folsom’s Palladio at Broadstone was the first and only Sacramento-area location for the Cherry Hill, N.J.-based franchiser. It closed after less than two years of business.

World’s Largest Bucket List

April 23, 2016

Good Day Sacramento 

It’s an attempt to create the World’s Longest Bucket List and Tina is here to help rally up as many people as possible to sign the long scroll.


Chill out and enjoy the benefits


Jeanette Panzer, left, goes in for an advanced cryotherapy therapy session at NorCal Cryotherapy in El Dorado Hills Town Center. Owner Sharon Thompson discusses the many benefits of the two-minute session with all new clients. Photo by Julie Samrick

Jeanette Panzer, left, goes in for an advanced cryotherapy therapy session at NorCal Cryotherapy in El Dorado Hills Town Center. Owner Sharon Thompson discusses the many benefits of the two-minute session with all new clients. Photo by Julie Samrick You don’t need to travel to New York or Los Angeles to experience the whole body cryotherapy treatments making fans out of movie stars and professional athletes. NorCal Cryotherapy in Town Center opened Jan. 4. Owner and El Dorado Hills resident Sharon Thompson raves about the ice therapy treatment that, while just being introduced in America, has been popular in Europe and Asia for decades. During a recent visit she explained how regular cryotherapy treatments could benefit just about anyone. Whole body cryotherapy exposes the largest organ in the body, the skin, to subzero temperatures to activate the central nervous system. At NorCal Cryotherapy clients stand in a chamber that reaches from the neck down for two to three minutes. A machine converts liquid nitrogen into gas, which is pumped into the cryosauna chamber. Skin temperature, but not the core body temperature, drops 30 degrees or more, which causes an endorphin release much like massage or vigorous exercise does. The increased blood circulation also causes a fresh supply of oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood to rush in, decreasing inflammation while also stimulating cellular regeneration. Benefits can be felt for 48 to 72 hours, the minimum amount of time Thompson said most people should wait between treatments. “It depends on what they’re here for,” she said. “If someone is in chronic pain, you’ll want to sandwich several sessions upfront and then go into maintenance. Avid athletes come every three to four days.” Thompson has seen clients as young as 13 years old with parent permission. They are usually year-round, competitive athletes. “It helps with tears and muscle soreness and it’s a really good detox,” she said. Cryosaunas were recently featured on the Dr. Oz show as a natural healer that really works. Sports teams are increasingly turning to cryotherapy in place of the old-fashioned ice bath. “It’s a dry cold, not wet, which makes all the difference,” Thompson said. “Plus an ice bath can take up to 20 minutes.” Personal experience Thompson knows about this firsthand. While 30 weeks pregnant with her third son, Thompson, an avid runner, lost part of her right foot when a jet ski trailer fell on it. She had to give up running but turned to cycling and eventually opened her other business, fit RIDE Studio in the Business Park. When Thompson continued to suffer from foot pain, her surgeon recommended foot ice baths, but Thompson said it was hard to do with kids at home. “There’s got to be something better,” she remembered. “Then my doctor told me about cryotherapy and said that if I ever found a place that offers it, I should try it.” While with her husband Chris on one of his business trips in L.A. Thompson did try it. “Cryotherapy offers a mass release of inflammation,” she said. “There are so many healing qualities. I felt relief I’d never felt before. “I believe in it,” she continued. “I personally need both of my businesses now.” “A two- to three-minute session in a cryosauna serves as a valuable tool for the daily management of a multitude of ailments including chronic pain, inflammation, energy and stress related conditions, with the added boost of a caloric burn (400 to 800 per session) for weight loss, the elimination of toxins to reduce cellulite and the production of collagen,” it states in the company’s literature. “We tailor each session to each person,” Thompson said. “Session time and temperature can be adjusted.” First Thompson takes a client’s blood pressure. Then the client changes into minimal clothing and removes any jewelry — no metal in the chamber. A robe is offered for warmth and privacy until a client stands in the cryosauna. The skin temperature is taken for before/after results. Slippers and mittens are provided during the treatment to protect the body’s extremities. “Any time you want to get out of the cryosauna you can,” Thompson said. “I’m standing here communicating with you the whole time.” During my treatment, Thompson was helpful, assuring and had me move one-quarter turn every 30 seconds, with the last chunk of time focused on a bum shoulder. Before I went in my skin temperature was 93 degrees; after two minutes and 30 seconds, it was 53 degrees. The chamber was a brisk -220 degrees but Thompson is right: dry cold is a lot different than wet. Last, Thompson has clients cycle or handcrank a stationary bike during a three- to four-minute recovery period while she observes. For the rest of that day I felt like I’d had a massage; I slept better than usual that night and the next day the shoulder pain I’d grown used to wasn’t there first thing in the morning. Goals and more info Thompson said this year she’d like to see more people learn about cryotherapy. “I’m hoping to educate people that it really is a wonderful, natural process,” she said. “It affects the whole body.” First time customers pay $25 for a session. Single visits are $40, still far less expensive than in major cities, Thompson said. Paying with a health savings account card is accepted. Located at 4364 Town Center Drive, Suite 108, in El Dorado Hills, NorCal Cryotherapy is open seven days. Walk-ins or appointments available. For more information visit or call (302) 307-CRYO.